H.B. NO.














relating to ferries.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the State of Hawaii is comprised of a chain of islands, six of which have major population centers, limited by air and water transportation options.  Unlike the forty-eight contiguous states, Hawaii does not have the benefit of being linked to other states through the federal interstate highway system or a network of intersecting state and local highways and roads. 

     The legislature also finds that while property is transported between islands via time consuming inter-island shipping and barge operations, the principal means of transporting people between islands is mostly limited to costly air transportation or small ocean charters.  There are security concerns associated with residents and visitors being overly reliant on one inter-island carrier and a few smaller commuter operations, as airports face severe operational disruption in the event of a significant natural or mad-made disaster. 

     The legislature further finds that a previous attempt at implementing a statewide inter-island ferry operation, giving effect to chapter 268, failed due to a lack of mandatory environmental impact statements.  However, the limited run of the Hawaii Superferry did prove to be a successful mode of transportation, for both persons and limited property, between the islands of Maui and Oahu.  For a period of time, the operation connected family members, provided individuals physically unable to fly with a less burdensome alternative to air travel, and supported inter-island business opportunities. 

     An inter-island shuttle service is the missing link in Hawaii's transportation system, providing critical connections essential for the health, safety, and well-being of the people of Hawaii.  For these reasons, the legislature finds that the State should make it a priority to facilitate more efficient and affordable inter-island commuting options.

     The purpose of this Act is to direct the department of land and natural resources to conduct any necessary environmental impact statements to enable the department of transportation to fully implement a Hawaii state ferry system.

     SECTION 2.  Chapter 268, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

     "§268-    Provision for an environmental impact statement.  (a)  The department of land and natural resources shall conduct any necessary environmental impact statements pursuant to Chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes, for an inter-island or intra-island ferry system authorized by this chapter.

     (b)  Any private ferry system currently in operation or created in the future may utilize environmental impact statements conducted pursuant to subsection (a) for future operations."

SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the environmental response, energy, and food security tax pursuant to section 243-3.5 the sum of $      or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2015-2016 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 to carry out the purpose of this Act.

     The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of land and natural resources for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2015.












Report Title:

Transportation; Ferry System



Requires the department of land and natural resources to conduct any necessary environmental impact statements for the establishment of the Hawaii state ferry system.  Makes an appropriation.




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